2 October 2020 – UN-Habitat and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia are joining forces to ensure the first ever virtual Global Observance of World Habitat Day, which will come from the Indonesian city of Surabaya, is a celebration to remember.

World Habitat Day has been observed across the globe on the first Monday of October since 1986, highlighting a range of issues around sustainable urbanization The Global Observance, hosted by a different city each year, is the main focus with attendance at the highest level.

The Global Observance this year will begin with the official ceremony on World Habitat Day itself,  Monday 5 October, and will include a recorded video message from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, along with statements from the UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the Indonesian Minister of Public Works and Housing, Basuki Hadimuljono and other dignitaries.

There will also be the presentation of the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour to the five winners from Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal and Uganda, the launch of the Urban Agenda Platform and the start of the five-week Campaign on Housing for All. A small physical gathering for the Scroll of Honour presentation in Surabaya will be held at the same time with strict adherence to health protocols.

The second day will feature Roundtables on subjects related to this year’s World Habitat Day theme – Housing for All: A Better Urban Future. The Roundtables will look at Housing at the centre of the COVID-19 response, responding to resilient, inclusive, gender-equal and green economic recovery in informal settlements and the launch of the Urban Agenda Platform: Reporting progress and sharing knowledge in the Decade of Action.

 “UN-Habitat has worked closely with the Republic of Indonesia and Surabaya to ensure that World Habitat Day has a lasting impact. Ensuring adequate housing for everyone has always been a critical issue but during the COVID-19 pandemic it has really become an issue of life and death and we urgently need to find long term solutions,” said the UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif. “Despite the challenges we are really encouraged to hear about the large number of celebrations across the world taking place this year.”

On 29 September, an Agreement on the arrangements for the Global Observance was signed by the Minister for Public Works and Housing on behalf of Government of Indonesia and the UN-Habitat Executive Director.

“Today, as COVID-19 spreads across the world, we are convinced that the need of safer, healthier and liveable housing and settlements is a must for our cities. It’s also essential to provide a more resilient people and cities against multiple disasters,” said the Minister. “We hope the global celebration of the World Habitat Day 2020 will encourage all stakeholders to collaborate more in creating safer, healthier, and liveable housing and settlement for all. And we hope it will broaden the cooperation opportunities between countries on adequate housing and settlement provision with the support of the UN-Habitat”.

"It is truly an honour for Surabaya to be the global host of the World Habitat Day 2020 and working together with our longstanding partner, UN Habitat. After hosting the Prepcom3 of Habitat III in 2016, we are proud to be able to be part of this prominent celebration which highlights the importance of basic rights for all as it is in line with our works in Surabaya,” said Mayor Tri Rismaharini of Surabaya who was a winner of the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour in 2018.

More than 50 different events are expected to take place around the world to mark World Habitat Day 2020. The Expression of Interest for hosting the Global Observance for World Habitat Day or World Cities Day 2021/2022 can be found here.

WHD Press release Surabaya

For more information contact

Susannah Price, UN-Habitat Chief of Communication susannah.price@un.org